Adeline’s 1812 Journal: October 1813 -Married Life
This is a fictional journal written as it might have been by a young woman in 1812-1814. Adeline Price is the daughter of a farmer/volunteer soldier James Price and his wife, Clara Parsons. Adeline is the second oldest of four children (fifth child Victoria deceased). Her oldest brother, William is married to Elizabeth. Her sister, Evaline is 14 and her brother Henry is 10. Adeline has married Sgt. Charles Houghton, one of the soldiers stationed at Fort Wellington, at the age of 17 and they have settled on a piece of land north of Johnstown (Augusta Township) given to them by her father. Charles is the youngest son of a gentleman farmer (member of English parliament) from Buckinghamshire, England.
Adeline addresses her journal to Janetta, a dear childhood friend back in England.
Blueberry Creek Farm Sunday, October 10, 1813
Charles just returned to Fort Wellington. It is a beautiful autumn day and the maples are all scarlet among the golden birches. As you can see, we have called our farm,”Blueberry Creek Farm” and next year I am sure to have harvested many. Mother and I did pick some this year which I have dried and use for puddings. I am becoming very domestic now, Janetta, and you would laugh to see me up to my armpits in hot water when I do the laundry. Charles says that I am the very picture of a perfect pioneer wife and her teases me that he will call me “Mrs. Scrubs” from now on. I do like to keep the cabin clean , Janetta, which is difficult when the floor is partly stone and partly wood.
Sometimes, like today, Charles and I eat out of doors on a table he made. It is pleasant to be out of the smokey cabin in the bright sunlight. We have two good-sized windows in the cabin, but they are covered with an oiled cloth, which doesn’t allow a lot of light in, so I have had to use the tallow candles unless I can leave the door open. Unfortunately, field mice will scurry inside looking for a warm winter abode, if I do. Charles has promised to replace the windows with real glass as soon as we can afford it. It will be dim inside with the shutters closed to keep out the weather, but I have made lots of candles.
I don’t have much time to pine after Charles, there is so much for me to do before winter, but I do enjoy it when he manages to get home. We have such good conversations about the books he has read and wants to share with me. Often we go walking, Pirate, our puppy, bounding ahead, around the property, planning what we will do when the war is over.
Charles hope to raise horses like his grandfather does on his farms back in England. He brought me a beautiful bay mare, that he bought from John Thompson’s brother and so now I can ride up to visit my parents or Mr. and Mrs. Randall. I have named the mare, “Goldie” and have already ridden her around the property several times. She’s a good, gentle horse of sturdy breeding, about six years old. John says his mother used to ride her, but now she sadly suffers from gout and can no longer ride.
I must check on the animals and bank the fire, before I turn into bed for the night. I love to lie there, Pirate at my feet, and listen to the owls until I fall asleep.
Your loving friend, Adeline
Blueberry Creek Farm Sunday, October 17, 1813
Yesterday, Charles and I had our first true disagreement. He wants me to go back to Thistledown Farm until winter is over, but I much prefer to stay here and take care of our animals and the farm. In this manner I will closer to Fort Wellington and I will see more of Charles. Charles persisted until he could tell that I am as stubborn as he. He stamped out of the cabin and attacked the wood pile. I tried to make it up to him with a fresh apple pie for supper. At least I can make good pastry.
I do dislike disagreeing with my husband and I know that wives are supposed to obey, but going back to live with my family seems like taking a step backwards. This is our home and being a married couple back at Thistledown is awkward. We can’t have our silly tiffs and foolishness when others are about and I can’t indulge in my moments of anxious worry without distressing my parents. I do get lonely here without Charles, but I have Pirate and the animals. I am not so isolated now that I have Goldie to ride.
Charles rode back to the fort after breakfast this morning. He said not to expect him back for a week or so. The Americans have been making more trouble on the river. Charles, William and White Wolf are going to be patrolling the riverbank. I feel an ice-cold shiver each time he leaves, looking so noble in his red-coated uniform. How I wish I could ride along with him.
After a long hug and kiss, he left, but I didn’t watch him out of sight. Mrs. Randall always says that is bad luck, so I immediately go to work clearing up our breakfast dishes, and feeding our animals. Work gets my mind off the war. However, this time, as I lifted the hay with the pitchfork, I had the strangest feeling that I was being watched. I turned around expecting to see Charles coming back for something he’d forgotten, but I could see no one. Pirate was growling his little puppy growl though no one appeared. The feeling persisted however. I am getting more skittish as time goes on, it seems. At one point I thought I heard a horse whinny in the distance, but it must have been someone passing down the road to Johnstown.